This conundrum brought to you by Quora thread and a #hottip from Logan Sachon: Should I continue to work if my parents are worth hundreds of millions of dollars?
I’m 25 years old. I was raised as a member of the middle class. My parents do not come from wealth, and we were not at all wealthy (by Silicon Valley standards) when they were raising me. My parents ended up starting a couple of companies around when I went to college, and now their net worth is in the (low) hundreds of millions. In the meanwhile, I went off to college, studied computer science, and got a job as a software engineer at a very successful tech company. Although my parents funded my education, that was the extent of their assistance…My yearly salary is a very healthy 150k a year, and a lot of my peers think that I’m sitting pretty. The problem for me is, I know that my time is my most valuable asset.
Although my job is prestigious to some, it involves performing very menial tasks on things that I really don’t care about. Yes, if I didn’t have extremely wealthy parents, I would be plotting my life strategy very differently. But the fact is, I do…I just don’t see the point in working as a foot soldier in a giant corporation just to simulate a lifestyle that, until recently, was all my parents and peers knew. I feel like I should be taking advantage of this unique situation and utilizing my finite time in my 20s.
I try and broach this subject with my parents, but it is to no avail. They have very middle class values, and it seems foreign to them that I would want to quit such a great job and “waste” all of my time. They’re scared I will become a loser, an archetypal trust-fund baby.
Some more details:
- he doesn’t want to stop “working” but wants to escape the “Silicon Valley grind” (…)
- wants to pursue a career in the arts, or travel for a year, or start his own company
- his parents are resistant to hiring him at their company, via nepotism
- he has a trust but wouldn’t have access to it for many years
I am not one to extol the virtues of work for work’s sake, although I think working makes many if not most people happy and fulfilled. I think this guy makes a ton of money for his age already, his parents’ money aside, although his parents’ money is an extreme and undeniable form of security and privilege.
Save your own money, dude, and travel around the world for a year. You clearly have marketable skills, you can take a year off and go back to what you were doing before. Or apply for a job in the arts, plenty of people do that without hundreds of millions of dollars. If you want to start a company, do it and ask your parents if they want to invest.
Take a risk knowing that yes, your parents will probably bail you out if you fail miserably. Appreciate that, but stop fantasizing about using it, or about ‘leveraging’ it to make your own hundreds of millions. Life *is* short, time is your most valuable asset, though to you and you alone. You are 25, the world doesn’t really care what you do. Remember that there is a middle ground between the “Silicon Valley grind” — more commonly known as “having a job” and a cushy one at that — and asking your parents for money. You’re actually in an absurdly good position, thanks in no small part to all the privileges your parents afforded you and the fact that they encouraged you to gain your own skills.
I would try to forget about those hundreds of millions of dollars, low as they might be, and focus on what you want and how you’ll get it, knowing you will basically be FINE no matter what happens. You bastard.